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Archive for April 17th, 2013

Kenyan Marathon celebration thrown into disarray after Boston blasts

Posted by Newsroom On April - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Kenyan Marathon Celebration Thrown into Disarray After Boston Blasts

Ajabu Africa

By Harrison Maina and Moses Mathenge

BOSTON –  The increasingly popular Boston marathon celebrations by the Kenyan community in the Boston region were abruptly thrown into disarray today. Sudden heavy blasts reverberated at the finish line moments after Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo won the first position in the women’s race. Micah Kogo of Kenya clocked in second in the men’s race after Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa turned tables on the Kenyan elite male champions by crossing the finish line first.

The scary blasts that resulted in 3 fatalities and over 140 injuries disrupted transportation plans for at least 14 Kenyans and their children who got stuck in Boston after most of the subway train system was shut down. Two Ajabu Media reporters spotted a Kenyan dad and son stranded near Boston commons as they walked towards Hay Market. The father’s cellphone had run out of charge and the reporters’ cellphones were used to locate a family member who picked the duo after an hour of anxious waiting. The reporters could not use the subway train system because it had been closed as a security precaution.

The now re-united family generously offered the reporters a ride out of town. However, soon afterwards the car stopped at a nearby street corner when it encountered 10 stranded Kenyans with frightened children in tow. The Ajabu reporters gave up their seats for the stranded Kenyans and bravely watched the tightly packed SUV zoom the families to safety in the suburbs. Frantic telephone calls were then made to a Kenyan who resides in downtown Boston to come and rescue the weary reporters.

No Kenyan elite runner was hurt. The bomb blasts took place more than one hour after the top runners had crossed the finish line. However, local Kenyan diaspora runner, Titus Mutinda of Lowell, Massachusetts, narrowly escaped the blast as he crossed the line barely 20 minutes before the explosions. As news of the bomb blasts spread in the mainstream and social media, many Kenyans from out of state and the motherland called their kin to enquire about their safety. Kenyans are known to swarm the finish line in big numbers to cheer their athletes and take pictures.

Kenya fans in New England expected this year’s Boston Marathon to be another repeat of last year’s triple-double (in both male and female categories). They woke up early with great enthusiasm and expectant energy and headed to Copley Square in downtown Boston to join a sea of humanity that snakes its way all along the route and ends up at the finish right in front of the giant screen that televises the event live. This strategic position at the finish line is treasured by both Kenyans and their Ethiopian counterparts.

About an hour before the blasts, Kenyan fans lined up along the route had sustained a long duration of loud cheering and ululations as the marathoners raced from Hopkinton town, past Newton’s Heartbreak Hill, and down Boylston street into Boston’s finish line. The first expected victorious moment came when Rita Jeptoo crossed the finish line at Copley Square to win the women’s 2013 title. Moments later Micah Kogo scooped the second position in the men’s category. Kenyan and Ethiopian fans cheered loudly as each of their national anthems played out on loudspeakers as the champions were presented with their hard earned crowns. Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, bestowed the honors on the winners.

As usual, when all the top Kenyan runners had crossed the finish line within fifteen minutes of the winner’s time, the Kenyan fans retreated to their favorite restaurant VLora just a couple of blocks from the finish line. This is the place they go for lunch and refreshments as they wait for the official awards ceremony that usually takes place at 5pm at the Fairmont Copley Hotel, a short distance walk from Vlora. Many Ethiopian fans had also long cleared the finish line area. It was while the fans were enjoying their meal at VLora that the television aired the explosion and the ensuing chaos that erupted at the finish line.


Before the sumptuous meals had settled, police officers burst into the underground restaurant and ordered all to vacate with immediate effect. As the Kenyans took to their heels, Ajabu Africa reporters caught the journalist’s bug and jumped courageously onto the street scene to cover the developments. Only to find more than they had bargained for – a total lockdown. In a scary but organized operation, sirens rang in the air as both security and paramedics arrived in hordes. At this juncture everyone was ordered to clear the finish line and move away as far as possible. However, before all could clear the site, there came another deafening blast. It was the third blast.


A security officer shouted loudly to onlookers and media personalities taking pictures, “It’s for real, you got to run for your lives. Leave this scene now!” The officer did not need to stress any word as everyone took to their heels away from the scene. Within no time the entire down town Boston became police town with countless regular and undercover police cars hunting for the perpetrators of the vile act. They raced back and forth with their sirens and emergency lights on. Dozens of ambulances crisscrossed many Boston streets as they rushed the injured to different hospitals within the city.


It was during this commotion that Ajabu Africa reporters spotted the Kenyan father and son stranded at Boston Commons. “This is unbelievable. We have been stuck here since 3pm when I called my sister to come pick us up. Then my cell phone lost charge as soon as I told her I am waiting here. She does not know specifically where we are positioned,” said Patrick Kariuki of Randolph as he waited patiently with his 6 year old son.



“Let us use your cell phone to call my sister again right away”, he requested Ajabu Africa reporters. According to Kariuki’s sister, Judith Mwangi, it took her three hours to drive from Randolph to Boston, and almost two more hours to drop off each of the families at their homes in Quincy and Brockton.


“It was so hectic. Many of the roads in Boston were closed. The GPS was directing me all over as I figured out how to get around. There was police everywhere, but I thank God I was able to finally re-connect with my family and other stranded friends,” she told Ajabu Media.

She thanked Ajabu Media reporters for helping her stranded brother reconnect with her.

Up to this moment, it is not clear whether there was a Kenyan or Ethiopian fan who got injured in the blasts. Ajabu Media is also not aware of any Kenyan stranded in Boston.
 

AjabuAfrica.com is a news website based in Boston serving the African diaspora, an ethnic media partner of the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Center on Media and Society; and also of NAM.

The National Black Church Initiative opposes Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill

Posted by Newsroom On April - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
 
Black Church Condemns Legalization of Gateway Drug as Dangerous
 
  

Washington DC – (Trice Edney Communications) The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) strongly opposes Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Bill. The passage of this bill is a dangerously slippery slope toward legalization. The science that governs the issue of Medical Marijuana is conclusive – it is not safe and effective as medicine. Passage of this legislation has serious socioeconomic and cultural ramifications, and should be reconsidered by lawmakers who are erroneously giving into popular messaging that this illegal drug is a suitable substitute for sound medicine.

NBCI has over 3,700 member churches in the State of Illinois – many in Illinois. As concerned constituents, we are urging lawmakers to vote against the Medical Marijuana Bill. Marijuana has ravished the African American community to the point of destruction. It is chief poison causing our African American men to sit in city, county and federal jails and prisons. By voting for such a bill elected officials will be sending a message that marijuana is acceptable to be utilized for ambiguous medical purposes. This is the wrong message to send when over 65% of our young men and women who have either used or is presently experimenting with marijuana. It will lead to addiction, poor school scores and attendance, involvement with gangs, and decreased motivation.

Rev Anthony Evans, NBCI President says “Marijuana is a gateway drug and the Medical Marijuana Bill is no different. The Black Church is not in the business of creating an environment that gives our children an excuse to get high. Presently, there are so many societal roadblocks for African American youth. Giving them access to medical marijuana is the nail in the coffin, killing their chances of becoming a contributing member of society, a wife or a husband, a father or a mother and someone who can maintain steady employment.”

One of the chief reasons why African American youths cannot find a job is that they cannot pass the urine test. The Black Church is not about to stand by and give them an excuse to get high and to wreck their lives and harm others. We will not let you and other pseudo-scientists produce a generation of pot heads. The evidence underpinning medical marijuana’s detrimental impact on society is strong:

While each state medical marijuana law differs, in Colorado a state with a population of 5.1 million there are 108,000 card holders-2% of the population. Michigan with 9.8 million residents has 130,000 medical marijuana users. Illinois has 12.8 million in population and, while states’ cases vary, Illinois is likely to end up with at least 200,000 individuals high school senior age and older consuming excessive amounts of marijuana, an illegal drug under state and federal law. Hundreds of thousands more will buy or receive marijuana from these card holders, and states run the risk of gangs and illegal drug cartels selling greater amounts after this step towards legalization. Furthermore, there are FDA approved drugs including a marijuana pill, Marinol, available for patients with special needs which erases the need for wholesale marijuana legalization. NBCI urges lawmakers to consider these dire consequences before passing legislation that will further endanger African American Youth.

Vote No on HB1.

About NBCI

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, churches and the public. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work.

Visit our website at www.naltblackchurch.com.

Reclaiming the Narrative: A Key Step in Eradicating Racism in America

Posted by Newsroom On April - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
By Dr. Gail C. Christopher
America’s Wire Writers Group
 
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Just 100 miles from where Trayvon Martin was killed, the slaying of an unarmed black teenager that unleashed intense racial anger and antagonism, there is a new example of the racism and racial insensitivities that continue to punctuate our society.

With Martin’s death still a bitter memory, a Port Canaveral Police Department firearms instructor did the unthinkable – Sgt. Ron King offered paper targets resembling Martin to fellow officers for shooting practice in the Florida town. King claims the targets were teaching tools for what not to shoot at, but his supervisors deemed his action inappropriate and he was fired last weekend.

Throughout each day, newspapers, the airwaves and Internet routinely crackle with stories like this one, stories demonstrating that racism and the centuries-old racial hierarchy still exists. This destructive belief that skin color makes one group of people superior to another has dominated American culture, our institutions and our narratives consciously or unconsciously for centuries.

When Roland Martin says race played a role in his firing from CNN, when racial incidents erupt at a high school in Grand Haven, Mich. or when there are a series of hate messages at Oberlin College, all these events are widely reported in the media. Not much adverse news about racial bias is missed with the 24/7 news cycle, abundant talk radio, social media channels and the ever-expanding blogosphere.

But do these stories represent the real story about our communities?

Not long ago, reporting on acts of racism was considered progress: after these media reports, it becomes less likely that incidents can be covered-up. Once hostilities are out in the open, frank and honest discussions can occur and perhaps lead to solutions that address the root causes of racism.

Yet those committed to positive change and healing the wounds of racism, both past and present, recognize there is also a changing America out there. This is also a nation of people with positive stories to tell about our communities, to tell about families of all different races and ethnicities — the neighbors that we love and respect regardless of the narratives dividing us. Americans are working together, finding common ground in diverse neighborhoods and bridging their differences to sustain racial harmony in their communities, in their schools and in an array of public and private institutions, including the criminal justice system. But these are the stories that aren’t reported in the media and aren’t reflected enough in narratives regarding race.

In Michigan, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services is healing divisions between Arab and non-Arab Americans. The center engages communities to document and share personal narratives and collective histories of the national Arab American community’s experience after 9/11. It includes an exhibit, a series of public programs, educator’s workshops and community dialogues.

In New Orleans, the Ashé Cultural Center is utilizing art and culture to create a safe and healing space for all who come through its doors, especially young people in the community. Its Truth Be Told project includes commissioning and producing original art works that are made available to other groups, gatherings, and events to stimulate thinking and dialogue in the community. The center is expanding interracial participation in their commemorations and producing a series of film screenings, panel discussions, roundtables, and lectures to upgrade knowledge, thinking on race and the impact and influence of racism.

And in Chicago, the Collateral Damage Project conducts interactive research on gun violence, racial discrimination and gang participation in urban communities. It has resulted in a traveling exhibition, multi-media documentary and the development of a social networking website for youth. Their work explores the lives of 46 youths who lost their lives to gun violence and examines the destructive role that violence, discrimination and residential segregation play in urban communities.

These stories belong in the narrative and must be shared and leveraged for meaningful change to take place.

In Asheville, NC from April 22 to 25, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will hold its 2013 America Healing Convening. The theme for this year is Reclaiming the Narrative. We want to raise awareness of the diverse stories that are omitted from our nation’s collective history and examine that impact. More than 500 national and community-level leaders, community-based organizations and civil rights groups will gather to share stories, and create a richer and more reflective narrative of our collective human experiences. We will share stories of successes, challenges and hopes for healing communities and creating better life outcomes, especially for vulnerable children. Our gathering will not only present a pathway to overcome racism and divisiveness, through healing, but showcases how it is happening today in communities across the country.

The first full day, Tuesday, April 23, will facilitate small group conversations about the stories that demonstrate the effectiveness of our work. The second day is committed to sharing stories of barriers and demonstrated outcomes in law, justice and racial equity, while using a narrative for structural change through interactive plenaries and concurrent sessions. On the final day, we will explore the catalytic power of a reframed narrative, while exploring the neuroscience and psychological power of narratives.

Reclaiming the narrative is vitally important to our nation’s future. Most of the children born in our country today are children of color; we must eliminate the barriers to their opportunities if America is to flourish in the future.

Our stories will spur conversations about the legacy of racism in America. The past must be acknowledged and understood before we can heal the wounds caused by racial bias that limits opportunities for families and communities. Any progress towards achieving equitable outcomes for disadvantaged families, people of color and vulnerable children will require a collective commitment to taking actions that will bring urgently needed change.

It’s the narratives that can create momentum for this societal change, building unwavering confidence that a new a day is indeed possible.

Working with the Southwest Georgia Project (SWGAP), high school students in Wilcox County, Ga. are organizing their high school’s first ever integrated prom. In the past, black and white students held separate proms. The integrated prom is not supported by the school system and has drawn opposition from some students. But students, some of whom have been friends for years, are embracing diversity, and an opportunity to bring change to a community stubbornly bound by segregation.

By telling this story to the public, these students are revealing that racial bias remains rooted in their community, and they are doing something about it. Their story, which has received international attention, is the type of narrative that will inspire others, the type of courageous action that exemplifies the racial healing that is occurring in other communities.

The Kellogg Foundation, through its America Healing initiative, supports SWGAP, as well as the programs cited in Michigan, New Orleans and Chicago that are promoting healing in communities today, so we can all have a brighter tomorrow.

Dr. Gail C. Christopher is vice president – program strategy for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and leads the foundation’s America Healing initiative that is committed to addressing structural racism in America on behalf of vulnerable children. America’s Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Their stories can be republished free of charge by newspapers, websites and other media sources. For more information, visit http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001BZTuzMhPo871-mf1jpsFNiHV_jjz8Q58NTYZpGy8EGyxjIrkvScRvX1HfWKqScXBhZAfhwdbwDQ1GPBqHJ_ZS_HCJ8RHnmI-Ne-Asa2DA1jQjheY80vBBQ== or contact Michael K. Frisby at mike@frisbyassociates.com.

Time to Get Smart on Crime

Posted by Newsroom On April - 17 - 2013 1 COMMENT

 

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

President & CEO of the NAACP

 

The United States has five percent of the world’s people but twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners. For the sake of our families and future we must do better.

Our nation leads the world in the incarceration of our own citizens, both on a per capita basis and in terms of total prison population. The problem stems from the decades-old “tough on crime” policies from the Nixon/Reagan era. We are stuck in a failed “tough on crime” mind state that is characterized by converting low-level drug addicts into hardened criminals by repeatedly locking them up when they should be sent to rehab for drug treatment.  

 

More than 500,000 of the 2.3 million people behind bars in the U.S. are incarcerated for nothing more than a non-violent drug offense. And over 40% of them are people of color. Although rates of drug use and selling are comparable across racial and ethnic lines, blacks and Latinos are far more likely to be criminalized for drug law violations than whites. One in nine black children has an incarcerated parent, compared to one in 28 Latino children and one in 57 white children.

 

This failed approach to criminal justice has both a direct and indirect impact on our children. Immediately, many children are faced with foster care as their parent is locked away for a non-violent drug offense. In our report, “Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate“, we found that situations like this lead to achievement gaps as early as grade school in communities that have high incarceration rates. The report also shows that mass incarceration siphons funds from our schools, leading to skyrocketing public education costs for students hoping to attend college.

 

There is no question that violent criminals must be locked up. Unfortunately, the “tough on crime” strategy of the last four decades has become a dangerous distraction for law enforcement, diverting attention and resources away from violent offenders and onto non-violent acts that require counseling, not incarceration.

 

The fact is that so called “tough on crime” policies have failed our nation and its families. It is time to move to “smart on crime” policies that reduce sentences for drug offenses – most notably mandatory minimum sentences – and focus on rehabilitation and prevention rather than punishment. Encouragingly, this kind of reform is being sought on the state, local and national levels.

 

In the United States Senate, Chairman of Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have introduced the “Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013“. The bill would allow federal judges to bypass federal mandatory minimum sentences when the sentence does not fit the crime. It is encouraging to see a bipartisan effort on criminal justice reform, based on the notion that mass incarceration is draining state budgets and national prison capacities.

 

Meanwhile, President Obama released his budget proposal this week and called for the largest increase in drug treatment and prevention funding in at least a decade. This is a promising sign that key players in the White House are looking at drug addiction as a public health issue, instead of an issue of crime and punishment.

 

Progress is also being made in statehouses, where rising prison costs are straining state budgets. In Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, the NAACP and progressive groups have teamed up Republican legislatures to reduce mandatory minimum sentences and increase options for parole. In Texas, the NAACP worked with Tea Party leaders and a coalition of activists to pass 12 “smart on crime” reforms that resulted in Texas scheduling its first prison closure in state history.

 

Support for criminal justice reform is not just limited to civil rights activists. This month, the NAACP, hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons, Dr. Boyce Watkins and coalition of over 175 artists, actors, athletes, elected officials and advocates brought national attention to this issue by presenting an open letter to President Obama, urging him to double down on his efforts to move to a criminal justice model based on prevention and rehabilitation. With signers like Will Smith, Scarlet Johansen and Richard Branson, the letter has expanded the movement to bring and end to the failed “”tough on crime” policies.

 

If we allow the current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his life. The time has come for all of us to do all that we can.  The future of our families, states, and nation demand it. If we are going to find our way back to first in education and job creation, we must first decide to stop leading the world in incarceration.

State Senator Collins legislation protects student privacy

Posted by Newsroom On April - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

 

Colleges may not ask for Facebook passwords, access accounts without cause

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) is sponsoring a measure to protect the privacy of students who use social media such as Twitter and Facebook. House Bill 64, approved by the Senate Education Committee, prohibits colleges and universities from requesting students’ social networking passwords or requiring students to give their schools access to their accounts.

“Students, particularly college students who are legally adults, reasonably expect schools to respect their privacy,” Collins said. “Last year I co-sponsored a law preventing employers from asking employees or prospective hires for their passwords; there’s no reason not to extend the same protection to our students.”

Colleges and universities would still be able to adopt and enforce rules governing the use of social media on computers and Internet connections provided by the school. If they suspect a social media account contains evidence that a school rule has been violated, they may require a student to furnish a password to the account. The measure also affirms that schools and universities may view any information a student makes public on a site such as Facebook. Elementary, middle and high schools may demand access or a password if they have reason to believe a social networking account contains evidence of wrongdoing, but they must notify students and parents of this policy.

HB 64 passed the House in March by a vote of 60 to 54. If approved by the Senate, it will go to the governor for his signature.  

Jesse White Awards More than $1 Million in “Back to Books” Grants

Posted by Newsroom On April - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Over 200 libraries awarded

 

Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded more than $1 million in “Back to Books” grants to 230 Illinois libraries to acquire fiction and/or non-fiction books, learning CDs and DVDs and other educational materials.

“I am pleased to be able to award these grants that will allow library users to be better educated and entertained,” said White. “Our libraries perform so many essential tasks, but at their core what our libraries do best is make books and other materials available to patrons.”

Libraries submitted applications specifying the types of books and other materials they would purchase if they received funding.   These include:

  • Building collections in women’s studies and sociology
  • Health sciences books for nursing students
  • Books and other materials to help veterans make the transition from military to civilian life
  • DVDs to provide training to firefighters
  • New materials in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and craftsmanship subjects
  • Cultural, geographical and travel books and DVDs
  • Spanish language fiction and non-fiction books, DVDs, and audiobooks
  • Large-print books for senior citizens on topics related to retirement such as health, hobbies, finances, technology and travel

Awards range from $2,500 to $5,000 per library and are made possible by a combination of funds from the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and state of Illinois library funds.

Senator Durbin congratulates 1963 Loyola University Basketball Team on their acceptance into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame

Posted by Newsroom On April - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a statement submitted for the Congressional Record in the Senate, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) congratulated the 1963 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Basketball Champions, the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers, on their acceptance as the first team ever to be enshrined into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.  The announcement was made earlier this month by the NCAA and the team’s official induction will take place on November 24, 2013. 

Excerpts from Senator Durbin’s statement follow:

“In an era when racism gripped the game, Loyola Coach George Ireland assembled the first predominately black team to win an NCAA Championship.  Loyola’s starting lineup featured four African-Americans.  This was unheard of in those days.”

“To this day, Loyola remains the only school from Illinois to have won the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.   To most players, winning the NCAA championship would be unquestionably the highlight of the season.  But as Ramblers point guard and All-American Jerry Harkness says, as he has gotten older he is even more proud of a game Loyola played earlier in that championship season.

“On March 15, 1963, Loyola and Mississippi State played a game that the NCAA calls The Game of Change.  It was a game that changed college basketball forever – and helped changed race relations in America.

Full text of Senator Durbin’s statement follows:

Senator Durbin

Loyola University Chicago Ramblers

April 16, 2013

Last Monday, college basketball fans crowned their newest champion, the Louisville Cardinals, I want take a moment to congratulate another historic college hoops team.

The NCAA recently announced that the 1963 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions, the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers, would become the first team ever enshrined into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

In an era when racism gripped the game, Loyola Coach George Ireland assembled the first predominately black team to win an NCAA Championship.  Loyola’s starting lineup featured four African-Americans.  This was unheard of in those days.

Despite hateful comments from the public and threatening letters from the Ku Klux Klan, Loyola lost only two games all season and marched through the Final Four.  In the championship game, they faced Cincinnati, a team that had been ranked number one all season and had won the tournament the two previous years.  If that wasn’t pressure enough, the 1963 NCAA championship was also the first nationally televised NCAA title game.

Les Hunter, starting center for Loyola, remembered it as an opportunity to show “that the brand of black basketball was exciting and it provided for more exposure and recruiting for future players.”

The championship game was an uphill battle for Loyola.  After missing 13 of its first 14 shots they trailed by 15 points with less than 15 minutes to play.  Then, with only nine seconds left and the score tied, Walter Vic Rouse tipped in a missed shot to put the Loyola Ramblers ahead by 2 points.  When the final buzzer sounded, the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers were National Champions. 

To this day, Loyola remains the only school from Illinois to have won the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.  

To most players, winning the NCAA championship would be unquestionably the highlight of the season.

But as Ramblers point guard and All-American Jerry Harkness says, as he has gotten older he is even more proud of a game Loyola played earlier in that championship season.

On March 15, 1963, Loyola and Mississippi State played a game that the NCAA calls The Game of Change.  It was a game that changed college basketball forever – and helped changed race relations in America.

Mississippi State had won their conference for the past three years, but it appeared they would be unable to compete in the 1963 NCAA tournament because of an unwritten state law barring the team from competing against teams with black players.  Rather than forfeit their place, Mississippi State’s president and coach decided to defy Governor Ross Barnett’s vow of “segregation now and forever.”  They snuck their team out of town under the cover of darkness to avoid being served an injunction barring them from leaving the state.

 Loyola won the Game of Change, but both teams, together, made history.  The Game of Change altered college basketball and became a watershed event in the civil rights era.  Three years later, for the first time in NCAA history, Texas Western, with an all-black starting lineup, won the championship.  The 1963 Loyola University Chicago Ramblers helped make that possible. 

 Loyola’s basketball team was led by Coach Ireland and assistant coach Jerry Lyne, and featured starters John Egan, Jerry Harkness, Les Hunter, Ron Miller, and Vic Rouse, as well as reserves Dan Connaughton, Jim Reardon, Rich Rochelle, and Chuck Wood.  All of those individuals are members of the Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame and each of the five starters has also had his jersey number retired.

Mr. President, I congratulate the 1963 Loyola University Chicago Ramblers on their accomplishments and look forward to their induction ceremony in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on November 24, 2013. 

Thank you, Mr. President. 

Speaking of President Bush and his unjust Iraq war: Who’s going to prison for the senseless loss of US lives?

Posted by Newsroom On April - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

By Rev. Harold E. Bailey

President of Probation Challenge & The PCC Network

 

A recent study attempted to put the human cost of Bush’s wars in context, explaining that the expense of covering residual health issues for young soldiers injured in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, will continue to weigh on the system long after the official end of those engagements.

According to the paper article, the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan together could end up costing somewhere from $4 to $6 trillion. But Former President Bush offers no apology for sending soldiers to war based on lies…

After more than a few thousand young men and women were killed in the Iraq War, even the general public and others in his administration at the time… were sadden over the rush to war, but not Former President George W. Bush!

When former President George W. Bush reflected on his tenure in the White House during a recent interview, he said he was comfortable with his decision-making in regards to the Iraq War.

The question then as is now … why and what did we go to war for? Was it because of weapons of mass destructions…which we didn’t find?! Bush and his administration ought to be at least ashamed, but neither he or Vice President Dick Cheney are any bit shameful for their actions! And this of course speaks volume about this matter.

“I’m confident the decisions were made the right way,” Bush explained. “It’s easy to forget what life was like when the decision was made.”

 Making quick and ill adverse decisions for war with the lives of other folks’ children just ought not to be an overnighter. This crucial decision was to perhaps make a name for himself, and at the same time, vindictive with one who was said to be an enemy of the United States … Bush once said, “After all this is the guy  (Saddam) who tried to kill my dad at one time.” This remark seems to be personal…to say the least. And we went to war over a cry-baby attitude?

Bush conducting a rare interview comes as he prepares to attend a ceremony for the opening of his presidential library in Dallas. He will be in attendance with every living former president. Bush continues to suggest that he has few regrets. Well, certainly I have many regrets, one being that he was ever president of these not-so-United States.

It is most embarrassing to hold your head up when you think of the incompetent person that once led this country to war over a blatant bare-faced intentional lie…and many believe he knew it. “I’m comfortable with what I did,” Bush said. “I’m comfortable with who I am.”

Let it be noted that millions of family members of Army soldiers are less than comfortable over a decision to play-war with the lives of other folks’ children.

Our youth are convicted over marijuana and serve time in jails and prisons. Where is the fair judgment with Bush who stands as an example to our youth? Who’s going to jail or prison for this act of creating an unjust war – and the killing of far too many children? This used to be called An Act of Treason!

Rev. Harold E. Bailey is President of Probation Challenge: http://www.probationchallenge.org/ – The Truth Network.

Weekly column to Copyline Magazine

Jewish community rallies against school closings with letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Posted by Newsroom On April - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Jewish community members will gather on Thursday, April 18th at 4:30 p.m. to deliver a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel that demands an end to the planned CPS school closings.

Organized by the group Jewish Solidarity and Action for Schools (JSAS), the letter calls on Jews and the greater community “to show our public officials, Jewish and non-Jewish, that while CPS’s ill-conceived and destabilizing reforms put some children at risk more than others, the resistance will come from people of all ages, races, and neighborhoods.”

In this spirit the group will arrive at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office with cries of “Don’t cut down the tree of knowledge!” and “What would your Bubbie say?”  There, Rabbi Brant Rosen will lead the group in prayer before the delivery of the letter.

Citing the disproportionate effect of the school closings on African American and Latino neighborhoods, the letter expresses outrage at the racism inherent in the school closings.  It reads: “These discriminatory school closings fly in the face of our Jewish and human values…The proposed school closings would exacerbate inequity, particularly along lines of race and class.  They would undermine the promise of our education system to be open to all of us, no matter what neighborhood we live in… Although injustice may not affect all of us equally, we all must struggle together for our liberation.”  The letter is signed by over 150 Jews including important Rabbis and religious leaders from the Chicago area.

This event is part of JSAS’s ongoing participation in the movement to stop school closings, led by the Chicago Teachers’ Union and Grassroots Education Movement. JSAS formed as a place for the Jewish community to stand in solidarity and act for education justice in the city of Chicago and beyond.

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